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Fierce Foodie: At Least There Are Pumpkins


a blogumn by Roya Hamadani
Photo Credit: Patrick Lentz

Photo Credit: Patrick Lentz

I know that fall has really begun when my car starts to skid on the wet leaves in front of my house.  That’s when the hot, stagnant humid summer of Pittsburgh gives way to rainy day after rainy day, and the kind of gusting wind that brings down tree branches.  The tomatoes have finally given over to blight and it’s time to hack away their dead and dying vines clustered with tiny green fruits destined for rot.  The dark red and sunny yellow mums lend what cheer they can on gray days when it seems everything else is fading.  My sandals sit unused by the door, waiting to be switched out for heavier shoes and as I pull out my cardigans my mind naturally turns to pasta, cheese, and pumpkins.

Pumpkins are the clowns of fall food.  They come in every weight class, from baby to bathtub size.  They can be carved into bizarre spectacles and be fashioned into cakes, cookies, and pies.  But not only that, they make excellent savory soups, curries, and pasta dishes.  Pumpkins can take on cumin and cinnamon and make it all taste right.  So in honor of the pumpkin, savior of fall, here is my take on a penne recipe utilizing pumpkin puree after the jump:

Pumpkin Penne

Adapted from Rachel Ray on Food Network



1 pound whole-wheat penne

2 tablespoons butter

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground basil

1 tsp cumin

3 to 4 cloves garlic, diced

1 cup chicken stock

1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree

Salt and black pepper

2/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


Heat water for pasta, salt it and cook penne to al dente.

Heat the butter until over medium heat. Add onion and garlic to the pan, sauté 3 minutes. Add spices and sauté 2 minutes.  Stir in chicken stock and combine with pumpkin, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer 2 to 3 minutes more. Toss with pasta with grated cheese, to taste.